The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are holding on to their veterans for now, but many other teams are not.
Case in point: the New York Jets are releasing linebacker David Harris and wide receiver Eric Decker (though they’re trying to trade him first), while the Baltimore Ravens just released tight end Dennis Pitta.
That’s because teams are getting close to the end of their offseason program, with most teams wrapping up by the middle of June. Players and coaches will get some time off before the start of training camp, which is generally somewhere toward the end of July.
Cutting players at this point is a little late, but it’s not too late to bring in reinforcements—there’s always a few veterans waiting for just these kinds of opportunities.
Of course, as veterans start hitting the market, people are going to ask: should the Bucs sign them?
The answer is no. The Bucs should not be in the business of signing players that are too over the hill for other teams to hang on to. Not unless they have good reason to suspect that these players were cut for something other than their quality of play, and they’re an obvious upgrade over what the Bucs already have on the roster.
That’s not really the case so far, with most cuts being injury, age and quality-of-play related. David Harris might add some value to the Bucs—but if they wanted an old, thumping linebacker who can’t stay on the field on third downs anymore, they would have just kept Daryl Smith.
The Bucs also haven’t made a habit of signing experienced veterans after May and before the regular season. They have added a few players during the season in years past, most notably Jacquizz Rodgers last year, but almost all post-May signings the past few years involved inexperienced players.
So don’t expect the Bucs to act on all of these sudden releases, even if you think they’re very tempting.